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Lottery Addiction In China Grips 7 Million

A national jackpot craze hooks low-income Chinese youth.

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A cartoon about a man who, after using up
all his money, still loses the lottery. Photo via

By Fionna Agomuoh

03/26/12

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Millions of Chinese have lottery fever, a recent survey by the Lottery Investigation Center of China has found. Of the 200 million lottery players that live in China, 7 million are addicted and 430,000 are "severely" addicted. The Beijing Times reports that addicts tend to be men between 18 and 45 with decent education—either a high school or college diploma—though they only earn around 1,500 to 3,000 yuan a month ($240 to $475—the national average is $2,700 a month). According to Chen Haiping, a doctor in psychology at Beijing Normal University, lottery addicts are driven by the compulsion to elevate their social standing in a society that offers few avenues to wealth. To help addicts, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council is urging the government and lottery agencies to set up rescue funds. Though these figures are initially alarming—there are two-thirds as many lottery players in China as there are people in the United States—7 million addicts in a population of 1.3 billion is a tiny fraction, which comes to about a 0.5% gambling addiction rate. Comparatively, 6 million Americans, or 2%, are addicted to gambling.

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